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74 Oaks - Our DIY package has been discontinued effective July 18, 2016.
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I've been asking the wrong question!
Our journey...the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins!
Our journey....and Supply and demand....part 1
New DIY wedding package available!
Many thanks!


Events at 74 Oaks
Our journey, part 1
The Christmas Store
Weddings fit for a princess!
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My Blog

I've been asking the wrong question!

I've been asking the wrong question....
For the longest time I've been asking "what did I do to deserve all these setbacks, obstacles, roadblocks, and lemons I need to turn into lemonade, on my journey building 74 Oaks"? You know, you reap what you sow, what goes around comes around, karma, etc....
Finally I've realized I've been asking the wrong question.  The question I should have been asking is  "what did I do to deserve all the blessings in my life that have helped me continue on this journey of building 74 Oaks through all of these challenges"?  I did not build this alone. The prayers, love, support and constant help of my family and friends keeps me going. I'll be forever grateful for them and for the very fact that I do love my work!
I've been so blinded by the struggles and fearful of failure, that I failed to fully appreciate the joys and blessings of the journey. I truly do feel my purpose is to help couples in love have an affordable, stress free wedding. A beautiful beginning to their "happily ever after".  My best advice to any newly engaged couple is to spend more time planning your marriage, than your wedding. The wedding is a memorable, wonderful event, but it's just the beginning!
One of the greatest joys of this journey has been meeting some of the most wonderful people who have become life long friends.  We don't keep in touch daily, but I'm always thinking of them and checking on them through facebook or emails. I'm happy when I learn of happy events in their life and sad when things aren't going well for them.  One of the most dear and sweet is Leigh,  her beloved husband "The Captain", needs your prayers. They need a miracle, please pray they receive exactly what they need during this time in their life. I would so appreciate it and I know they would too.
Welcome to the neighborhood Jay, best wishes for much success! The possibilities are truly endless for all of us!
Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing!
Enjoy your day and make it special!
xo, Terri
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NIV

Our journey...the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins!

Our journey....
June was a busy of the events we were so happy to be a part of, was the wonderful wedding of DeNaye and Oliver.  Every wedding is different, every one is special, this one so unique and special it was just amazingly awesome!
Oliver is the ultimate do it yourself groom, DeNaye the perfectly prepared bride.  Their pre-planning and preparations came together beautifully. We were truly blessed to be a part of their wedding!
Oliver worked, and worked, and worked, building.....he built a magnificent arbor, a beautiful pair of "barn" entry doors, an awesome three piece bar, gorgeous planters to hold the 10 foot crepe myrtle trees that outlined the benches of Bela Chapel, and numerous signs and frames.  His work is outstanding! If you need anything for your own wedding, he can build it! Contact me if you need to get in touch with him to purchase your own  "DeNollie Original".
DeNaye was pure elegant perfection! Her dress was so pretty and so perfect, she was truly breathtaking! 
She planned everything so well, it all came together for a stunning wedding and reception.  Every bride surely dreams of the flowers DeNaye chose. They were a fabulous and grand array of blooms, that were simply gorgeous! I was the fortunate person who had the pleasure of spending several days clipping, snipping and arranging the glorious blooms! Roses, garden roses, lisianthus, was such a joy to have an abundance of blooms and the time to arrange them. I truly enjoyed every minute. 
Their wedding and reception was filled with all you wish for, love, family, friends and fun!! 
We were so blessed they chose 74 Oaks as the site to begin their "happily ever after"....not only were we blessed to have met and gotten to know this delightful family.  We were extremely blessed with their kindness and generosity.  Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins gifted us with the fabulous arbor and beautiful barn doors Oliver built. Bela Chapel has never looked prettier. 
Our pretty new chandelier in the ballroom was also a DeNollie original! Having an event, we barter too...just ask!
We will be forever grateful for their awesome gifts. I have no words sufficient to explain the joy of meeting and getting to know such a loving and giving family. Every time I look out at Bela Chapel, I think of DeNaye, Oliver and their adorable daughter Ella, such a wonderful family and such a blessing to us!
Amanda Scheuing Photography shared a few photographs on our 74 Oaks face book page, I can't wait to see more!
Check back for more updates.  Thanks for looking and thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day, make it special!

Our journey....and Supply and demand....part 1

We get lots of this a did we decide to do long have you been here....why, etc.....I'm an open book, ask me anything, I'll tell ya! So I'm going to try to fill everyone in on my blog.  Check back often, it's a long and winding tale!  This is the beginning of our journey, it's been crazy, fun, rewarding, discouraging, completely nerve wracking sometimes, but always worth it!
I've always loved weddings.   I've helped plan, design and decorate many weddings and events over the last four decades.  Until I "was" the wedding venue, I thought I knew everything possible about weddings....No, I learn something new at every event! 
Gary's helped me since the 1980's, loading, hauling, unloading and doing it all again afterwards. Brandy will tell you she's been tagging along to weddings her entire life. Andrew's been watching the wedding process since he was a about three years old. His first experience was Leah and Michael Parks beautiful wedding. Andrew is now a senior in high school with a job at Firehouse Subs! My entire family has helped me at one time or another with a wedding, not just my immediate family, my entire family!!  We're a family that lives and works together, "74 Oaks" is our home.
At some point during all the loading, hauling and unloading I realized there must be an easier way to have a beautiful wedding that was less work, less stress, more cost effective and more fun.  About 15 years ago I was talking with my daddy about my dream of building a wedding venue, I couldn't find the right property.  In just a few days he found this beautiful place in the country, he negotiated the price with Mr. Henry Aldridge  for us and our journey began....finding it was the easy part!
We bought 450 Henrys Loop in Brantley County, Georgia about 13 years ago and named it "74 Oaks". Many of our guests ask the same questions... how did we name "74 Oaks"...another question I get a lot,  are we tax exempt because our outdoor wedding site is named "Bela Chapel".... 
Andrew, our grandson named "74 Oaks".   As a then four year old, whose favorite number was 18 million, he agreed to "74 Oaks" instead of 18 million oak trees.  That's the name he liked, so that's the name we chose....and no we aren't tax exempt.  This property is actually zoned commercial/residential, not agricultural/residential.   "Bela Chapel" isn't really a "chapel", it's an outdoor wedding site. The site and the name have a very special and personal significance to me.
It took several years for the actual road, Henrys Loop to be put in. Answer to another frequently asked question, "who is Henry"...Henry's Loop, Henry Aldridge. We trekked from Country Farm Road in the afternoons and weekends when we came out here to work and our journey began.  Daddy would bring his four wheeler when he came to help, it was just too far for him to walk.  We enjoyed a lot of family fun and food working together on the driveway, hauling dirt, digging dirt, cutting down, cleaning up, building the little barn, Andrew's tree house, the list is endless! It was a glorious day when Henry's Loop was finally in place and we could drive to where we now live.   So many people have helped during the last decade, I'll need a separate blog post one day to try and name them all.  We're extremely thankful for each and every one of them!  Nothing's been simple, easy, or quick. Most things worth doing, really aren't simple or easy. 
Our goals have never changed, to be able to provide beautiful, affordable weddings/events, and we also needed to earn a living. Little did we know of the challenges and struggles we would face! We've encountered setbacks, major and minor ones.  Many were our own mistakes and some were simply out of our control. We kept working.  We didn't strike oil, inherit a big pot of gold, or win the lottery! It's taken us about a decade and a lot of hard work to get to the point we have.  We'll always have another project to accomplish or another improvement to make.  But we are making progress, the indoor guest bathrooms are complete, we have new air conditioners in the ballroom, and a beautiful new chandelier going up in the ballroom....many thanks to a very special couple for that!
We certainly didn't build this alone. Our family and friends have helped in so many ways, without them none of this would have been possible.  We'll be forever grateful for all the help, love and support from these very dear, special people. My daddy would be very happy to see we've persevered and never gave up.  His smile would show his happiness at just how  generous, kind and always helpful our family and friends have been. He never saw a wedding here at "74 Oaks", but I know he's been with us every step of the way. I'm sure his favorite so far would be Cynthia and Suggie's awesome wedding. His brother, my Uncle Fred, is Cynthia's dad. Their wedding was filled with family, fun and love, my daddy would have enjoyed the entire day! That's what a wedding should be about, love, family, fun and a wonderful beginning to a long and happy marriage.
We've met so many wonderful people at each wedding we've been blessed to have at "74 Oaks".  We truly enjoy each event and we're extremely grateful for each one. The brides and grooms who've said "I do" at 74 Oaks will always have a special place in our hearts.  We'll be forever grateful to our first bride and groom, Chrissy and Michael!
That's just a small part of our journey. If you have any questions, ask me I'll be happy to fill in the blanks!!
Now supply and demand.....
When we started this journey over a decade ago, there were only a few wedding/event venues in South Georgia, now there is literally one on every corner, even one right next door on Henry's Loop! We're all different and offer different things for different events. I wish the very best to all who venture into the wonderful world of awesome weddings! Helping a bride and groom create the beginning of their "happily every after",  is very rewarding work.   I'm praying we shall prosper and continue doing the work we've been lead to do.  Plenty of supply and not as much demand leads to lower prices....check my blog again soon for a new, and different wedding package with lower prices for the DIY bride. As well as a new package for those who don't want to do it all and realize sometimes it really is worth it to have some help on your dream day!  Contact me to make an appointment to find out all the new details.
Thanks for looking, thanks for sharing!
Enjoy your day and make it special!
Terri Johnson, Brandy Johnson Murray, Gary Johnson and Andrew Murray

New DIY wedding package available!

New DIY wedding package available!
We're offering a new wedding package for the DIY bride, very special pricing.
For a limited time, restrictions apply. 
Message me for an appointment to learn all the details!!
Thanks so much,
Terri Johnson
Enjoy your day, make it special!

Many thanks!

2014 has brought many changes to 74 Oaks....
Finally all the interior construction is complete! We now have a new dressing room for the guys and two new restrooms.  We are very excited about the completion of this long process and the challenges of finishing each project in between events. 
We appreciate the understanding of our most recent couples, Cassie and Terry Waters, and Heather and Hozea Hill.  Both weddings were held with a little bit of construction unfinished and both sets of family and friends were kind and understanding of the situation as we worked to finish the last of the indoor projects.
We appreciate all of our happy couples and all the others who have held events during the last two years while we were still in the process of remodeling and/or finishing the indoor facilities to better accommodate our guests.
Many thanks for the hard work of Gary, Brandy and Andrew. As well as so many family and friends.  We certainly appreciate Lee Hardware, Arthur Sapp Plumbing and Wayne Duggan for their extraordinary help to meet the challenging deadlines and obstacles we faced.  Of course many, many thanks to my mom, Dean Tyre...she's always there for me in every way, encouraging me to never give up my dream of beautiful and budget friendly weddings at 74 Oaks.
We are so looking forward to the weddings booked for 2014.  Each couple is special and important to us, we hope each wedding is the beginning of a long and happy life together.  Many, many thanks to those who have already booked their wedding! Please let us know if you would like to come out for a visit.
Thanks so much, enjoy your day,

Andrew Jackson High School 50th class reunion

What a wonderful event! A class reunion to celebrate 50 years since high school graduation.
I was honored to be asked to help  decorate for this event.  Without a doubt the entire weekend was a great success and enjoyed by all who attended.  The committee worked long and hard to get everything done so perfectly.
When the Andrew Jackson High School Class of 1963 held their graduation ceremony in the Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida.....I was there! 
I had been to the Coliseum many times with my grandmother, Judy Shetters.  On Thursday nights they had wrestling and my grandmother enjoyed going to see them wrestle, occasionally I got to go with her.  Back then it was normal to walk the 20 blocks or so to get there and have no fear of walking home late at night..... those were the days. (Unless you're in NYC, does anyone walk that far anymore?)
So, I been there before but to see a high school graduation with so many graduates, was a memory I've never forgotten. Same with the photo of Aunt Bonnie on the high school calendar for June, as a young girl I thought she's beautiful and  must be famous!!  There really is a very famous member of their graduating class, Rita Coolidge and she attended the reunion.  I finally got to meet many of Aunt Bonnie's friends I've heard so much about, they are a fun, fabulous and beautiful group of ladies and very fortunate to still be such close friends!!
Enjoy your day, make it special!
More updates and photos coming, as thankfully it seems my internet issues seem to be fixed!

My dreams...

"If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

My dreams have always been the same...a happy, healthy life for my family and friends and that they always know how much I love and appreciate them for just loving me.  My dreams have always included a home filled with love, laughter and pretty things.  A cozy place you know you are always welcomed, accepted, cared for and loved.

As a little girl I was in awe of two stockings my mom made from dime store cut outs for me and Jim, along with two special ornaments that were filled with angel hair. Those were the last two ornaments to go on the tree and the stockings were ready for Santa!  Jim and I had a decade of holidays together before "little Joe" came along. I knew I had the perfect brother with Jim, we love each other and always look out for each other,  just like our Daddy taught us. Then when I was 14, along came another perfect brother, "little Joe", my goodness Christmas was all about toys again!  I'm so blessed to have them and I'm so thankful Daddy was right, we are always there for each other!

No matter where we lived it was always a home filled with love, every Christmas was special. We eagerly counted the days until ONE week before Christmas for the tree to go up and usually the day after, it came down. My Mom made every place we ever lived, a home.  It was always pretty and clean and filled with love. No matter what she had to work with or how many times we moved.

My Mom is the greatest teacher in my life, she taught me to love unconditionally and without judging. She taught me how to do all the things I've enjoyed my whole life, sewing, decorating, gardening, arranging flowers and decorating for Christmas. Happy times, sad times, good times, bad times, her love is always the same, unconditional,  the same love she has for all her family and friends. My dreams are the same as my Mom's...

Times have certainly changed but the spirit of Christmas is still the same, family, friends and Daddy loved his family and he loved Christmas. He especially loved the holidays because we were all together and he loved that. I cherish the happy holiday memories I have. Christmas will never be the same with so many I love dearly now in heaven, but Jesus is still the reason for the your family and friends and make every day special. It's not about what you buy or how much you spend, it's about love and family. 

I still dream of a happy life for all of my family and friends...I can't give up...enjoy your day and make it special!

I've always loved weddings!

I've loved weddings since I was a little girl twirling around in my Mom's, pink gingham checked wedding dress.  I thought it was the prettiest dress I had ever seen.  I'm certain it was the height of fashion in 1955.  It was tea length with a full circular skirt that made me feel like Cinderella the few times I was allowed to put it on and twirl around on my Daddy's feet. He was a wonderful dancer, I never mastered that, but he was the best. The fitted bodice extended past the waist and was covered in lace, the matching bolero jacket was the perfect finishing touch.  I do wish I had a photo of my Mom and Dad on their wedding day, I know they were as lovely on that day as they were my entire life.  When we had their 50th anniversary party, we of course used pink gingham check in the decor, that party is my all time favorite event. 

My other childhood memories that contributed to my love of weddings are of my Aunt Bonnie. Her Andrew Jackson high school class made a calendar with a different photo for each month at the top, she was in the photo for June.  She was sitting on the steps of the church looking at her watch, waiting for the groom....she was breathtakingly beautiful in a gorgeous, floor length, full train, lacy ball gown and veil. I clearly remember the day she married the love of her life, my dear Uncle Jackie.  That day she was exquisite in a white lace covered, above the knee dress, that looked adorable on her granddaughter Jenny when she tried in on for photos before her own wedding to Ricky.

During the last 38 years, I've decorated for many weddings, for my family, friends,  and strangers, I loved them all.  What I've learned was that weddings are a lot of work and a lot of expense.  Every bride wants a beautiful wedding. I want every bride to have the wedding she dreams of without being so tired, stressed and broke that she doesn't enjoy it.  The parents and the wedding party should enjoy it all and leave the work to us.  So about 10 years ago I asked my Daddy to help me find some property to build a place to do just that.  Have a beautiful wedding, without all the headaches and expense of moving chairs, tables, tablecloths, decorations, ferns, flowers, food...well you all know, the list is endless and the time it takes to set it all up and take it all down is never ending. 

Here at 74 Oaks, the property my Daddy found, we've worked for 8 long years building an indoor and outdoor space where you can bring your family, food and clothes, have a beautiful wedding and still be able to afford a honeymoon or a home.  It's been a long, long process with many challenges.  Finally we're ready to get started....we look forward to many happy events and beautiful beginnings for every princess and her prince charming.

I will always be grateful to my first "princess and her prince", Chrissy and Michael and look forward to hosting their first anniversary party to show my appreciation to them for allowing us to host their wedding before we had completed the site.  They and their family will always have a special place in my heart.
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